About the Program

The University of Nebraska’s School of Art, Art History & Design provides a unique and intimate environment for your study of photography. Class sizes are small with individual attention that fosters technical and conceptual skill development. You will learn analog and digital processes from the history of the medium to its most contemporary practice to build a well-rounded foundation for your professional life in photography and the arts.

Our Photography program focuses on rigorous critical discussion, technical mastery and creative exploration supported by facilities, equipment and opportunities that promote and engage learning. Nearly 4000 square feet of photography facilities include digital labs, silver and non-silver darkrooms, a lighting studio, and student exhibition space. You will experience print viewing and close interaction with the extensive photography collection, visiting artists, and staff at the Sheldon Museum of Art adjacent to Woods Art Building.

As a member of the UNL Photo Club, a recognized student organization, you can participate in exhibitions, social events, field trips, and travel to national and Midwest Chapter Society for Photographic Education conferences.


There are nearly 4,000 square feet of photography facilities, including:

  • Private graduate darkroom with Omega 4x5" enlargers, and a grad-only Jobo film processor
  • B&W gang darkroom with 8 Omega 4x5" enlargers and an archival print washer
  • Film processing area with film changing closets
  • Undergraduate Jobo color film lab
  • Alternative process space and UV exposure unit
  • Graduate-only digital darkroom
  • Lighting Studio
  • Student hallway exhibition space
  • Critique space with configurable LED track lighting and magnetic walls
  • Large open lab area with digital projector and framing/finishing space
  • Large graduate studios
  • The School of Art, Art History & Design’s Digital Lab where students can check out equipment, reserve the studio, and use large format scanners and printers


Students have access to an extensive selection of equipment and gear, including:


  • Two Broncolor Senso A4 2400W/s 3-light kits
  • 6 Alienbees B400 monolights
  • 10+ Godox TT600 flashes with wireless transmitters
  • Smoke & Haze Machines
  • Light stands ranging from kickers to 12', C-stands with grip and boom arms
  • 6 in-studio V-flats
  • Various light modifiers, including softboxes, an Octabox, umbrellas, grids, and gels


  • Sony alpha full-frame mirrorless cameras with a rotating selection of lenses for advanced and graduate student use
  • 4x5 large format cameras with an extensive selection of lenses ranging from 75mm to 300mm
  • Hasselblad H4D-40 & H3D-31 digital medium format cameras
  • Mamiya RB67 and various twin lens medium format film cameras
  • 35mm film cameras
  • Sony a6000 kits with Sigma 35mm f1.4 lenses for Beginning student use
  • Manfrotto tripods

Graduate-Only Digital Darkroom Equipment

  • Updated Howtek D4000 drum scanner
  • Nikon 9000 film scanners
  • Epson V850 flatbed film scanner
  • Canon PRO-4100 44-inch pigment printer
  • Large GTI neutral color print viewer
  • Apple iMac work stations


The Photography area offers a range of studio courses in darkroom and digital photography that focus on technical, conceptual and aesthetic aspects of the medium as well as photography theory, history, criticism and contemporary practice. These courses are designed to provide a foundation for independent artists who use photography as a medium of expression. As a studio art major with an emphasis in photography, you can take up to six regular courses in the area as well as special topics courses and independent study hours.

Photography Lectures and Exhibitions 

UNL’s graduate program offers:

  • Three-year, 60-credit MFA in Art
  • Graduate-only analog darkroom, digital darkroom, and generous studio space
  • 24-hour access to all facilities
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships & tuition fellowships
  • School of Art, Art History & Design annual awards
  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts awards, presentation travel and research grants
  • One-on-one studio visits with Hixson-Lied Visiting Artists & Scholars
  • Opportunities to work with faculty across all studio areas and art history
  • Opportunities to take courses across campus in other disciplines
  • Close proximity and dialog with MFA students in all studio areas, and with MA students in Art History
  • Extensive collection of photobooks in UNL’s Love Library
  • Solo MFA thesis exhibitions
  • Opportunities to exhibit work in the many galleries and alternative spaces in Lincoln
  • A Residency Prize for one graduating student from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts’ internationally renowned artist residency program

Recent graduate students in photography have received numerous competitive internal awards including full Graduate Teaching Assistantships that waive tuition and pay a stipend, various scholarships and fellowships including one with the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains studies, grants to support travel and creative work, and the Othmer Award (the largest financial award given to graduate students at Nebraska.) Their external recognition includes numerous national and international curated and juried exhibitions, notable online publications and competitions, monographs with independent publishers, two Joy of Giving Something/Imagining America Fellowships, and regional and national Society for Photographic Education awards and invited presentations. UNL photography graduate students have had partial support to attend regional and national SPE conferences and other conferences related to their creative practice. Several alums have full-time and/or tenure track teaching positions.

Close inspection of prints at Sheldon Museum of Art
Close inspection of prints at Sheldon Museum of Art
Collection viewing at Sheldon Museum of Art
Collection viewing at Sheldon Museum of Art
Environment-Landscape-Photography seminar exhibition presentation
Environment-Landscape-Photography seminar exhibition presentation
Photogram critique in the Darkroom class
Photogram critique in the Darkroom class